"Why don't you reread your Widow's Voice posts from the beginning and see what kind of progress you've made."
My smart smart dude's advice the other day when I talked to him about the possibility of identifying so much with widowhood that it was keeping me stuck in some ways.
So I tried it. I didn't expect to discover what I did. The overall impression I had was that I was more resilient, positive, hopeful and self-reflective than I ever imagined myself to be. I tried to explain it away a little (as I so often do) by telling myself that maybe it was the buffer of shock that helped me be naive enough to be so hopeful and positive.
But I don't think that's it. The shock wears off and then where to attribute all that strength of character? And even if I was in shock, who cares? I still felt those things. It was still reflected in my writing. I must actually BE strong and positive and hopeful. No one was more shocked than I (only partially kidding here).
It was a good reminder for me and an important way to quiet the part of me that wants to minimize my accomplishments and focus on my weaknesses.
So I didn't get much insight on the over-identifying thing, but I couldn't hide from the shocking truth. Honestly, it shocked me. I'm not just making progress, I was alwaysfull of the strength that held me together when I was sure I would fall apart.
That never faltered. It came out in my writing. It drove me to act from a place of love, instead of fear. It pushed me forward even though a part of me had no idea why I was bothering. It came from within and not from external forces.
I didn't need to have all the answers or the perfect life, or a spouse or a job or a kid or any other reason to live other than my own worthiness. It was all I ever needed and it was always there. It was so hard to see it though, because all I could see was the next few inches in front me.
On a long, very strenuous hike with my guy the other day, I had to stare at my feet 95% of the time or fall off the very narrow path and tumble to my death. As we finished the hike, exhausted and sore, I thought of how the last two years had often been just like that head-down, focus-on-not-plummeting to-my-death hike. I couldn't look up to see the towering trees or the 3 inch layer of chartreuse moss covering the nurse logs or the little star-shaped vine maple leaves fluttering in the breeze. They were there, I just couldn't look up.
My strength, my hope, my worthiness. They were all there I just couldn't look up and see them. I was too busy trying not to fall.
But they were there.